A Florida woman says she managed to save her dog from an alligator after it was attacked while wading through some water.
Suzan Marciano, 74, told Florida news outlet The Palm Beach Post that the incident occurred as she was walking her dog Nalu near a lake at Burt Aaronson Park near the city of Boca Raton on the evening of August 24.
She said the dog had run into the water after being let off its leash. She soon noticed a dark shadow in the water, described as six feet or more in length.
The shadow turned out to be an alligator, according to Marciano, who said the animal then gripped Nalu in its mouth.
“I wasn’t thinking,” she told The Palm Beach Post. “I did the only thing I could do. I came down on the alligator with all my weight.”
The alligator then released her dog before turning and biting Marciano on the hand as well.
The 74-year-old said she didn’t feel any pain at the time and both she and Nalu managed to get out of the water and headed back to the car.
After being convinced by a friend to go to a hospital, Marciano’s hand was soaked in iodine and she received five stitches. Nalu, on the other hand, had to have a two-hour surgery to treat puncture wounds to the stomach and thigh.
Both then started recovering from the attack. According to Marciano, Nalu seemed more tired than usual and it took a few weeks for them both to return to the park.
Alligator Couldn’t Be Found
According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) incident report seen by The Palm Beach Post, an officer and park ranger couldn’t locate the animal following the reported attack.
A spokesman told the outlet that the agency had contacted Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department to inform them of the reported bite.
Florida is known to be home to alligators, and the animals have inhabited the state’s waters for many centuries, the FWC states. Sometimes they do come into contact with humans, occasionally with serious consequences.
Earlier this year a Florida hunter told Newsweek how an alligator leapt out of the water into his boat and almost claimed his arm, in what he described as an act of defense.
And earlier this month, multiple videos documented an alligator coming dangerously close to a woman who was paddleboarding in Marion County, Florida. The woman had to push the reptile with her paddle after it got too close for comfort.
FWC states people should never feed alligators, keep their distance if they see one, swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours, and keep pets on leashes and away from water.